Disclaimer: Yeah, MGM/Gekko/Whoever own them. Not me.
Mild spoilers for 'Secrets', 'Jolinar's Memories', and 'Devil You Know'.
A shameless PWP that contains many of the aspects I hate about fanfic. I wrote it anyway, I guess to see if I could.
She almost escaped unscathed. Somewhere, deep in the many recesses of her mind, she knew that there was no chance in any kind of hell (Sokar ruled or otherwise) that she was going to get out of there without something happening, but right now - with only ten minutes standing between her and freedom - she was trying to ignore that fact and hoping that once, just once, they'd let it go.
It's not like they hadn't said anything about it. Usually they just ignored it and that's what made it suspicious. But no. This time they'd all made some comment, all said *something* and because they had gone to all that extra effort she knew that they - him - had something particularly nasty planned.
With eight minutes between her and freedom, she found out what it was.
There was the obligatory shouting when she turned the corner and walked into the canteen. There was the obligatory 'wow I'm so surprised when I'm really not' reaction from her. There was the obligatory sense of that it really was rather cute, despite the fact that she wasn't particularly fond of surprise parties. Especially ones that involved...
"Come on Carter," Colonel O'Neill teased. "I bet you've got a great voice."
"No sir, I really haven't." She really, really didn't.
"Do I have to order you?"
"I don't think there's anything in any regulations anywhere that says you can order me to sing." Desperate to find something, anything to hold in her hands other than a microphone, she quickly grabbed a glass of undoubtedly spiked punch from the table next to her in one hand, and a piece of cake rapidly heading towards Daniel's mouth in the other.
"Sorry Daniel," Sam apologised, "But believe me, I'm doing you a favour."
The archaeologist shrugged and simply helped himself to another piece.
Ferretti was already part way through some song that was more about the melody than it was about the lyrics, and Teal'c - who thought celebrating Birthdays was very bizarre the first time he had experienced 'this ritual' - seemed to be enjoying himself. Well, in the sense that he was standing there with no expression on his face, saying nothing.
Which always proved that he was having a good time. As the Colonel liked to say, that was the Jaffa equivalent of having a wild night out.
The Colonel she'd briefly thought of was still staring at her expectantly and - superior officer or not - she glared at him. She was not going to sing.
Thankfully, Daniel picked up on the silent conversation. "So," he asked around mouthfuls of chocolate cake. "What did you get for your Birthday, Sam?"
Well, let's see. There was the nothing from her dad (he couldn't make it), the nothing from Mark (he always forgot), the nothing from Janet (not her fault - she had to go out of town), and the nothing from her friends outside the SGC (which admittedly weren't many).
The people she worked with, at least, had clubbed together to get her a few bits and pieces she'd been wanting for ages to have in her lab but could never get permission for. God only knew how many strings the General pulled and how many people's noses Colonel O'Neill threatened to break.
It wasn't her preferred method of procuring equipment she wanted, but it got the job done. Besides, they'd done it for her. Didn't that warrant a little violence?
Daniel had - apparently - been in charge of deciding exactly where this new equipment would be situated in her lab. In any case, he'd said himself he wasn't about to let Jack 'butter fingers' O'Neill anywhere near expensive equipment. Sam was silently thankful.
And Teal'c, as it turned out, had an unknown creative streak. He'd been put in charge of decorations for the party, and - to Sam's mind - the canteen looked the best it ever had.
Realising she still hadn't answered Daniel's question, she smiled. "Hearing Ferretti sing one of those boy band songs is a big enough gift for years to come."
Even Teal'c smiled.
General Hammond intruded on their little gathering, smiling proudly and holding out his hand. "Major, Happy Birthday."
"Thank you sir," She almost went to shake his hand but realised her hands were still occupied.
She was aware that O'Neill clearly saw her look at the drink, the cake, and the General's out-stretched hand and knew what was coming even before he said it.
"Carter! Why don't you let me relieve you of tho-"
Daniel once again came to the rescue, grabbing Jack's arm and swinging him away. "Jack! I've been meaning to ask you about that hockey game you mentioned..."
God Bless Daniel Jackson. She didn't know how much she owed him for that one, but it was bound to be big.
Assured that Jack O'Neill wasn't about to pounce and shove a microphone into her hand, she lowered the drink and cake to the table, and shook the General's hand.
How the hell did that microphone get in his hand?!
Dimly, she realised that Ferretti had stopped singing some time ago.
As if in slow motion she watched, horrified, as Hammond turned away - leaving the microphone securely in her hand - and announced "Good news, everyone. Major Carter has agreed to sing the next number for us!"
He was in on it.
They were all in on it.
The realisation thudded into her normally quick mind and slowly, every so slowly, she turned towards the people who were somehow standing next to her again already.
Daniel. Her saviour. The one man she thought she could trust. He'd been setting her up all along, making her think that she was safe, that everything was all right.
Teal'c. Quiet as ever, but a hint of a smile played around his lips. By his silence he signed his own prison sentence.
General Hammond. Perhaps the one person she wouldn't punish.
And there, last of all, Jack O'Neill. Apparently having no idea what danger he was in, he was smiling proudly. This was all his idea, she knew that. The others were incidental; he was - for once - the brains behind the operation. And he was going to pay.
The crowd of people between her and the make shift stage seemed to part on cue and she felt herself being shoved, pushed and cajoled until suddenly she was on the stage, staring down at the members of the SGC.
How the hell did she get up here?
The music started thumping, a bass rhythm that she vaguely remembered from some decade, but she didn't move, didn't sing, didn't do anything but stare back at the people who were smiling up at her.
And then her eyes found him.
In that instant her shock faded, her confidence grew, and she knew exactly what had to happen.
Still ignoring the music and the words appearing on the screen to her left, she spoke into the microphone. "As I am the Birthday Girl, I do think it's fair that I have one request granted."
General Hammond nodded, raising his voice to be heard. "Absolutely Major."
"I'll sing...but only if Colonel O'Neill comes up here and sings with me."
Sam decided that was a lovely shade of white he turned, and although she had never actually had a deer stuck in the headlights of any vehicle she'd ever driven, she imagined that if she had it would look pretty much how he looked now. Yes, this was a memory to savour. This would be worth it.
Revenge is best served...
He had been awful. Absolutely dreadful.
He'd objected. Quietly at first, then loudly, then even louder, before the familiar cry of "For crying out loud!" could be heard over the music and he bounded up onto the stage. He pointed a finger at her, proceeded to tell her in great detail how this was all her fault, then started to sing.
And he was absolutely awful. She'd heard more harmonious noises come out of her cat the last time she'd accidentally trod on him. And from the look on everyone else's faces, so had they.
Except for Teal'c. Who seemed to think it sounded quite nice.
Truth be told, she'd hardly sung at all. It wasn't hard to disguise her pathetic attempt at singing when he was belting out badly out of tune words every time he opened his mouth. No one could argue his spirit, though. He'd gone up there. He'd known he was going to be bad, and he went up there.
Now, some time later, he'd retreated to a corner of the canteen and was nursing a cup of coffee. It occurred to her, as she watched him, that she'd never seen him drink anything alcoholic at work.
Placing her own drink of inexpensive wine on the table, she sat next to him.
"Carter," He greeted.
"Sir," She nodded. "Do you mind if I tell you something?"
She smiled at him. "You really suck at karaoke."
It seemed to surprise and delight him as he laughed. "Yeah, tell me something everyone doesn't know."
Sam decided to. "Thank you. For arranging this."
Jack shrugged it off. "I didn't do anything."
"I know it was you." It was always him. "And I know I'm not very...fond...of surprise parties but somehow you always manage to make them...fun."
"Well then you're welcome," A rare, genuine smile filled his face. "Glad to do it."
A loud burst of noise drew their attention to the stage, where a happier than usual Daniel was coaxing Teal'c through a rendition of 'It's Raining Men'. It didn't sound too awful, especially given the fact that Teal'c had never heard the song, had no idea what the tune was, and kept stopping to ask questions about the lyrics.
"You know," Jack mused, "It's time like these that I wish I had a camcorder."
He shifted, pulled something out from under his chair and held it towards her. "I...uh...I got you something."
It took her a good ten seconds to realise that he was holding out a present. A present. From Jack O'Neill. For her.
"Sir, you didn't have to-"
"Oh, come on Carter. Three years and you didn't think I'd get you a little something? You *are* my second in command."
"I know sir," Boy did she know. "I know that. But you...already organised the party, and threatened God knows how many people with physical violence to get that equipment..."
"Carter, I didn't do that for you, I did that for me." Seeing her frown, he continued. "Do you have *any* idea how much fun it is seeing those suits sweat?"
Okay, okay, she could let him have that one. And she'd be lying if she said her curiousity wasn't killing her. "I can imagine." Her gaze fell to the carefully wrapped present.
"Take it," He murmured, looking a bit uncomfortable.
Smiling, she did. He was better at wrapping than she thought he would be. She wasn't entirely sure where she got the idea that he'd be bad at wrapping gifts, but there was the proof. The paper was reflective silver, probably-
"Stop staring at the paper and open the damn present."
"You're going to take all the fun out of this."
"If you don't open that thing right now, I will."
"No, you won't."
"Okay, okay, I'm opening it." Finding an edge that wasn't completely taped down she pulled at the paper, wincing a little as it ripped. Her eagerness soon took over and she ripped the rest of it to shreds. When the paper was off she frowned as she looked at the...paper.
There was paper inside the paper. Lots of it.
He could see she was confused so he grabbed the paper from her and opened it up. "You have to look here..."
Her frown grew even more as she looked at...a star chart?
"And this," Jack announced, opening up another one.
But she didn't need to. She realised already what he'd done.
He looked at her, and from the expression on his face it was clear that he knew that she understood. "Well, look," Jack cleared his throat as she continued to stare at him, and he started babbling. "I know how fascinated you are by this whole space...science thing, and your dad has mentioned in the past that you always wanted to be in NASA when you were a kid, and although we're often in space in some way because of what we do, I figured this would be the best way for you to...you know...have what you always wanted."
Still shocked, still staring at him, she murmured "You named a star after me." That was so...sweet. Jack O'Neill was being sweet. True, she knew that this 'star naming' business was usually a big fat lie, but she wasn't about to tell him-
"Look, I know this naming stars thing is a big crock, but it's the thought that counts, right?"
Of course. Of course he would know. The smile on her face was possibly the biggest one she'd ever worn. "Thank you."
Seeming unbelievably relieved - and also not seeming to realise how relieved he looked - he exhaled heavily. "Good. You're welcome. And I should be thanking you - I'll have something else worth looking at through my telescope now."
God, how did he do that? How did he have the ability to know just when to say the nicest things, and - oh, God. Were her eyes actually starting to water? Blink heavily, blink heavily, stop it before it starts.
"You okay, Carter?"
"Yes sir," She blinked again. "I guess Teal'c's singing is worse than I thought."
He didn't buy it for a second, but he didn't call her on it either. "Yeah, well, the image of him and Daniel singing 'It's Raining Men' is enough to make anyone's eyes water."
It wasn't his best attempt but she was glad, so very glad, that he wasn't making it awkward.
He nodded to himself. "You want a drink?"
He was up before she finished speaking, but she wasn't offended. Things were getting a little too close, a little more than they should. She was relieved to have some room to herself. Sighing, she blinked the last of the moistness away, smiled to herself, and looked down at Sam's Star.
back to fanfic